BACK-ON’s combination of metal riffs, hip-hop poses, emo angst and electronic atmospherics has caused a stir in the Tokyo club scene since the five-piece first started gigging in 2002. The band originally comprised MC TEEDA, vocalist/MC KENJI03, guitarist SHU, bassist GORI and MACCHIN on drums (later replaced by ICCHAN). KENJI03 and GORI were childhood friends, having attended primary school in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, a struggling district home to many high-density, public-housing apartment blocks. This less than glamorous background is a big part of BACK-ON’s identity, giving the band something closer to a street edge compared to Japan’s other glamorous rock-rap acts.
BACK-ON debuted in October 2004 with the mini-album “Adachi Tribe,” while also contributing tracks to underground hip-hop compilations. The following year BACK-ON kept the momentum going with constant touring, including gigs with RIZE and Screaming Soul Hill, and recording their debut “major” release, “Baby Rock,” for Avex Trax’s rock-oriented subsidiary imprint label, Cutting Edge.
But it was their 2006 single “Chain” that truly launched the band. The song received a boost by being chosen as the opening theme song to TV Tokyo’s anime Air Gear, a series that was licensed in the U.S., introducing BACK-ON’s sound to the West. BACK-ON went on to provide the opening theme, “Hikari Sasuhou,” to the direct-to-video title Murder Princess and contributed the songs “A day dreaming…” and “BLAZE LINE” to Eyeshield 21. With this, the band began making appearances at anime fan conventions in the US and Canada.
As a band that connects with fans across demographics, whether rich or poor, underground or mainstream, East or West, BACK-ON has gone on to form secondary project BAReeeeeeeeeeN with the four-man band GReeeeN, record four full albums and sixteen more songs used in various anime and movie soundtracks, with their most recent single being a collaboration with Lil’ Fang from FAKY.
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